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Augustus, Chapter 65: Problems in the family.
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|But in the midst of all his joy and hopes in his numerous and well-regulated family, his fortune failed him. The two Julias [Note 1], his daughter and grand-daughter, abandoned themselves to such courses of lewdness and debauchery, that he [Note 1] banished them both. Gaius and Lucius he lost within the space of eighteen months; the former dying in Lycia, and the latter at Marseilles. His third grandson Agrippa, with his step-son Tiberius, he adopted in the forum, by a law passed for the purpose by the curiae; but he soon afterwards discarded Agrippa for his coarse and unruly temper, and confined him at Surrentum. He bore the death of his relations with more patience than he did their disgrace; for he was not overwhelmed by the loss of Gaius and Lucius; but in the case of his daughter, he stated the facts to the senate in a message read to them by the quaestor, not having the heart to be present himself; indeed, he was so much ashamed of her infamous conduct, that for some time he avoided all company, and had thoughts of putting her to death. It is certain that when one Phoebe, a freedwoman and confidante of hers, hanged herself about the same time, he said, I had rather be the father of Phoebe than of Julia. In her banishment he would not allow her the use of wine, nor any luxury in dress; nor would he suffer her to be waited upon by any male servant, either freeman or slave, without his permission, and having received an exact account of his age, stature, complexion, and what marks or scars he had about him. At the end of five years he removed her from the island [where she was confined] to the mainland, and treated her with less severity, but could never be prevailed upon to recall her. When the Roman people interposed on her behalf several times with much importunity, all the reply he gave was: I wish you had all such daughters and wives as she is. He likewise forbade a child, of which his grand-daughter Julia was delivered after sentence had passed against her, to be either owned as a relation, or brought up. Agrippa, who was equally intractable, and whose folly increased every day, he transported to an island, and placed a guard of soldiers about him; procuring at the same time an act of the senate for his confinement there during life. Upon any mention of him and the two Julias, he would say, with a heavy sigh, Would I were wifeless, or had childless died! [from the Iliad 3.40] nor did he usually call them by any other name than that of his three imposthumes or cancers.|